When you need a Probate Lawyer or letter of administration
Probate is a legal term in which describes the process in which a Will is “proved” to be the last Will and testament of a deceased person.
The word “probate” refers to the application submitted to the Supreme Court of New South Wales by an executor(s) specified in a deceased’s Will. You must first be granted probate before an executor of a Will is legally entitled to administer the deceased’s estate and distribute it to beneficiaries.
Why you should appoint a probate lawyer
Applying for probate can be a complicated process, which is why you should appoint an experienced probate solicitor to assist. There are technical legal requirements in obtaining a grant of probate, which if not met can mean that the application is refused.
If the deceased died without leaving a Will, this is known as being intestate and requires an application for letters of administration. It is a similar process to applying for a grant of probate, but does have some important differences. An application for letters of administration is usually made by the deceased’s next of kin. The first step is to determine whether the deceased left a valid Will. This often involves making comprehensive inquiries and investigations with previous lawyers used by the deceased, the NSW Public Trustee and Guardian, and with the deceased’s relatives to try and locate a valid Will.
In some cases, if the value of the estate is less than the small estate threshold, probate is not required. If you’re not sure if you need to make an application for probate, Lawpoint’s probate lawyers can help.
Where there is no valid Will of the deceased, a next of kin must apply for letters of administration. The applicant next of kin is given the authority by the Court to act as executor(s) and administer the estate.
What is the Executor's role?
Whether probate or letters of administration is granted, the executor’s role is similar. This role starts with determining all of the assets and liabilities of the deceased including funeral and burial costs. Once probate is granted, the assets are realised and the liabilities are paid. Finally, it involves distributing the net assets to the beneficiaries listed in the Will or, where there is no Will, to the beneficiaries entitled to the estate pursuant to the Succession Act 2006.
It is important that you get advice from an experienced wills and estates lawyer to ensure that an application for probate or an application for letters of administration are made correctly. We also have a highly experienced team of wills and estates lawyers who can prepare your Will, or prepare power of attorney/enduring guardianship documents to help you with your estate planning.
Contact us now to schedule a consultation.
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